We started Week 12 of the NFL season with more fireworks from the usual suspects, and spent that afternoon in a comatose state due to the ineptitude of two offenses and a heavy dose of tryptophan and pie. I'm sure a good time was had by all. I was amazed that orange uniforms like those worn by the Bears (throwbacks to 1946) aren't more popular in today's flashy NFL. Where can I get one?
On Sunday, I watched Eli Manning attempt to escape the grasps of Eagles defenders while seeing what appeared to be a video game score in the upper right-hand corner of my screen. I was sure that Butch Davis and Marvin Lewis had agreed to play this one on "Madden 2005" the way that the scores kept going up. In the end, Davis claimed that Lewis had the better controller and that his "X" button was broken. What a game!
This week started with strong performances by rookie running backs Kevin and Julius Jones and finished with strong performances by rookie receivers Keary Colbert and Lee Evans. They helped lead their teams to victory, and Michael Clayton contributed another solid performance for the Buccaneers.
Not including the Sunday night game, 11 running backs crossed the century mark in Week 12. And for the second week in a row, somebody topped 200 yards.
Here's the wrap-up of what you missed during your Sunday travel, mall excursions or other family obligations.
Indianapolis Colts 41, Detroit Lions 9
It looked like a game for the first quarter. Detroit moved the ball well, but had to settle for a couple of Jason Hanson field goals. And has been the case all year, Indianapolis finished their drives with Mike Vanderjagt PAT's.
What else is there to say about Peyton Manning? He turned in another sick performance on Thanksgiving Day, causing indigestion for fantasy owners facing him. It was probably too early to have escaped watching his performance due to a tryptophan attack.
Brandon Stokley got things rolling as the recipient of Manning's first three TD passes. He finished with five catches for 57 yards. It was Stokley's third multi-TD game this season.
Not to be outdone, Marvin Harrison torched the secondary for the next three TD receptions. He tallied 12 catches for 127 yards.
Rather than seeing if Reggie Wayne could come up with three TD catches of his own in the fourth quarter, Peyton sat down late in the third. Wayne finished with three catches for 37 yards.
Edgerrin James rushed for 105 yards in the rout, giving him his sixth 100-yard game on the season.
In what was a curious move for the Lions, Joey Harrington grabbed some pine in the third quarter and was replaced by Mike McMahon. Harrington didn't play badly on the whole, but missed a couple of open receivers in red zone opportunities.
The Lions committed five turnovers, none by Harrington.
Perhaps the lone bright spot for the Lions was the play of rookie Kevin Jones, who rushed for 99 yards on 12 carries.
Finally, any owners still carrying Jason Hanson were rewarded with three short field goals.
Chicago Bears 7, Dallas Cowboys 21
If you asked which was more exciting, the first half of Dallas-Chicago or the mayonnaise competition in "The Glutton Bowl," it was no contest. The buckets of mayonnaise being ingested boggled the mind and made even the biggest eater at your table shrink away in terror. Other than the running of Julius Jones, there wasn't much to see in the football game.
Drew Henson took a Robert Conrad "I dare you to pick me off" approach in tossing the interception that proved to be Chicago's only score in the second quarter. He looked, paused, looked again and then must have thought he was throwing the ball to first base or something, forgetting that R.W. McQuarters was lurking on the edge.
Henson didn't play too miserably save that one errant throw. Still, he found himself back on the sideline to start the second half, replaced by Vinny Testaverde.
Testaverde also tossed what could have been a big interception to McQuarters, but he coughed it up at the end of the return deep in Dallas territory. Testaverde finished 9-for-14 for 92 yards and a TD pass to Darian Barnes.
Julius Jones pounded the Bears run defense for 150 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns. His first-quarter TD sprint electrified the crowd early, helped them get through the rough middle section of the game, and got them on their feet again in the fourth.
Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn were brutal for the Bears, combining to complete 15-of-31 passes for a robust 132 yards. Their awful performances prompted the Bears to bring in Jeff George for a look. George hasn't played since 2001, which means he isn't that far off from Henson, eh?
Thomas Jones lost the first battle of the Brothers Jones, carrying the ball only 14 times for 46 yards for the anemic Bears offense. He did add six catches for 48 yards out of the backfield.
Can I file a fan's motion with the league or a court of decency to change who plays in these games?
Cleveland Browns 48, Cincinnati Bengals 58
The fireworks on Sunday were in Cincinnati. There were over 950 yards of combined offense, and nobody named Manning, Culpepper or Favre running around the field. The Bengals and Browns scored 106 points, the highest combined scoring output since the AFC-NFC merger 40 years ago.
Holcomb threw for 408 yards, going 30-for-39 with five touchdowns. That's right, Kelly Holcomb threw five touchdowns. Work it through a couple times with another glance at the box score. At some point, you have to accept it. With Jeff Garcia still on the mend and a number of QB's turning in miserable offerings (more on those later), Holcomb will likely be a hot commodity on the waiver wire this week.
He connected with Antonio Bryant eight times for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Steve Heiden scores another big day for the tight ends, hauling in seven passes for 83 yards and three touchdowns. That's the second week in a row that a TE has scored three touchdowns in a game.
The Bengals were led by Carson Palmer, who turned in a 253-yard, four touchdown performance. He overcame three interceptions to lead the Bengals to the astounding point total.
Chad Johnson played this one low-key and let his play do the talking. He collected 10 catches for 119 yards and a score.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh chipped in four catches for 79 yards and two scores, including a 53-yard reception in the third quarter.
Kelley Washington got into the act as well, catching three balls for 35 yards and a score.
I save the biggest impact player of the Bengals for last. Rudi Johnson became just the second back to top 200 yards rushing this season. He finished the day with 200 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.
Interestingly enough, in a game dominated by offense, the final score was recorded on a Deltha O'Neal interception return for a touchdown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14, Carolina Panthers 21
Jake Delhomme fired the winning TD of this contest to rookie wideout Keary Colbert with just 30 seconds on the clock. Delhomme completed 14-of-21 passes for 212 yards on the day.
Colbert finished with only three catches for 72 yards, but two of them found paydirt. The first touchdown was a short pass that required a couple of nifty moves.
Nick Goings went over the century mark for the second straight week, contributing 105 yards on the ground to the winning effort.
Pittman finished with just 28 yards on the ground, but piled up eight catches for 133 yards. He also had two costly fumbles.
Michael Clayton hauled in eight catches for 79 yards.
Martin Gramatica continued his dismal 2004 campaign, failing to convert on three FG attempts. The former "Automatica" is now seemingly an automatic miss.
Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 6
Eli Manning battled the elements and a variety of blitz packages in his second career start. Manning made a couple of big-time throws, including two 50-yard passes to Jamaar Taylor. But he came up short on a fade to Jeremy Shockey in the end zone that was intercepted. He finished just 6-for-21 and 148 yards on the day.
Jeremy Shockey caught two balls for 31 yards.
Tiki Barber rushed for 110 yards and shook off an early foot injury to return to action. His effort gives Barber eight 100-yard games on the season.
Brian Westbrook was the star of the day for the Eagles, racking up 74 yards rushing and 53 more by air to go with two touchdowns.
Donovan McNabb turned in a solid performance, throwing for 244 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for another score.
After being shut out completely in the first half, Terrell Owens caught four passes for 61 yards after the intermission.
The Eagles defense terrorized Manning all day, sacking him five times in addition to the two interceptions.
Tennessee Titans 21, Houston Texans 31
Steve McNair started the day on fire for the Titans and ended it with talk of retirement. He hooked up with Erron Kinney for two first-quarter TD passes (six catches, 53 yards) and found Derrick Mason (eight catches, 87 yards) early in the second. And that was it for the Titans offense.
McNair would later turn the ball over three times, allowing Houston to seize control of the game.
David Carr struggled early, but rallied in the second half to toss two touchdown passes. Billy Miller (four catches, 42 yards) caught the first TD early in the third quarter, and Andre Johnson (four catches, 34 yards) added one late. Carr finished with 201 passing yards.
Domanick Davis dominated the Titans' defense, which has never recovered from losing Jevon Kearse this past offseason. He finished with 129 rushing yards, including a 41-yard TD scamper. Davis also caught seven passes for 52 yards.
Drew Brees threw for a career-high 378 yards and connected with Gates for two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Gates had seven catches for 92 yards.
LaDainian Tomlinson scored two first-half touchdowns and finished with just 46 yards on 21 carries. Tomlinson also caught 10 balls for 57 yards.
Kasim Osgood caught two balls for 92 yards.
The Chiefs played without Priest Holmes again, and again, the running game did its job. Derrick Blaylock and Larry Johnson teamed to rush for 100 yards on 18 carries. Blaylock rushed for two touchdowns and Johnson added another.
Trent Green threw for 208 yards, but continued his trend of throwing untimely interceptions.
Tony Gonzalez led all Chiefs receivers with eight catches for 105 yards.
Dante Hall finally uncorked a long one, returning a fourth-quarter kickoff for a touchdown.
Jacksonville Jaguars 16, Minnesota Vikings 27
Randy Moss was back on the field for the Vikings and made a beautiful catch in the back of the end zone in the third quarter. He was obviously still in pain, but battled through to catch four balls for 40 yards.
Daunte Culpepper threw for 236 yards and rushed for a touchdown to go along with his passing TD to Moss. However, he fumbled late in the fourth to give the Jaguars new life.
Leftwich completed 19-of-34 passes for 237 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown to TE Brian Jones.
Jimmy Smith led Jaguars receivers with four catches for 67 yards.
Washington Redskins 7, Pittsurgh Steelers 16
The song remains the same for the Steelers. Duce Staley sat out another game with a hamstring injury, and Jerome Bettis turned in another 100-yard game. He finished with 100 yards on the nose, and also scored his 11th touchdown of the season.
Patrick Ramsey struggled against the Pittsburgh defense, completing just 19-of-34 passes for 138 yards and one touchdown.
TE Chris Cooley (seven catches for 31 yards) caught Ramsey's lone TD pass.
Laveranues Coles caught six passes for 55 yards .
New Orleans Saints 21, Atlanta Falcons 24
The Saints found a way to lose this one and probably solidified Jim Haslet's fate. Michael Vick threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a third to down the Saints and run their record to 9-2.
Vick connected with Alge Crumpler (four catches for 103 yards) from 20 yards out with 1:50 left to give the Falcons the victory. Vick threw for 212 yards and ran for 71 more.
Fullback Stanley Pritchett was on the receiving end of Vick's first TD pass.
Peerless Price chipped in four catches for 57 yards.
Deuce McAllister rushed for 100 yards on 23 attempts.
Just one week following his 10-catch performance, Donte' Stallworth was held to just two catches for 20 yards.
Late in the third quarter, the only TD strike occurred. Quincy Carter hooked up with Santana Moss on a beautifully thrown deep ball for a 69-yard TD. Carter had left the game early in the first quarter after taking a blow to the head. He finished the game with 133 passing yards.
Brooks Bollinger played solidly in relief of Carter, completing 5-of-9 passes for 60 yards.
Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 102 yards, but his fumble proved costly in this close contest.
Corey Dillon got rolling in the second half, en route to 30 carries for 125 yards and a score. With the score 9-3, he took the carry to open the fourth quarter and scored from one yard out. Dillon would also tack on the two-point conversion.
Tom Brady threw for 173 yards, while Kyle Boller was held under 100 yards for the fourth time this season.
Deion Branch led Patriots receivers with four catches for 51 yards.
The crowd in Seattle then watched Willis McGahee run hog-wild on their defense, finishing the day with 111 yards rushing and four touchdowns. McGahee now has five 100-yard games this season.
Drew Bledsoe threw three interceptions, but the Seahawks failed to capitalize. Bledsoe threw for 275 yards and one touchdown, a three-yard pass to Lee Evans (six catches, 70 yards).
Eric Moulds led Buffalo receivers with eight catches for 92 yards.
Matt Hasselbeck returned from his deep thigh contusion and failed to ignite the Seahawks offense. He finished with 184 passing yards, one TD and one interception.
Shaun Alexander was limited to just 34 yards on 12 carries.
A.J. Feeley connected early with Chris Chambers (five catches, 64 yards) on a 25-yard TD. He would later find Randy McMichael from 15 yards out. But, for every Feeley highlight, he seems to find a way to keep other teams around. He fumbled the ball in the second quarter and watched Derek Smith rumble to the end zone to give the 49ers a temporary lead.
Tim Rattay did his best Feeley impression in the latter stages of the fourth quarter, fumbling the ball at the one. It was recovered by Derrick Pope for a touchdown. Rattay finished with 181 passing yards, with zero TD's or INT's.
Maurice Hicks (13 carries, 48 yards) would punch in a one-yard TD with 49 ticks on the clock.
Brandon Lloyd caught just two balls for 15 yards.
Meanwhile, Kevan Barlow continues to be a non-factor, adding just 20 yards on nine carries.
That's it for now. The lesson: Just when you thought you had everything figured out, Holcomb happens. I'll be back on Tuesday with a deeper look inside this weekend's box score and the early injury reports.
- Julius Jones
- Kelly Holcomb